Neck Surgery or Cold Laser Therapy?
Neck pain can be a very disabling medical condition. An estimated 10-15% of the general population suffers from neck pain and muscle stiffness at any given time. A more serious clinical presentation is neck muscle spasms and stiffness, with pain radiating into the shoulder, arm and/of forearm. This is characteristic of a cervical spine disc inflammation.
Typical signs and symptoms are unilateral; dull, numbness, tingling, sensation into the arm. It may feel like a burning feeling and sharp stabbing pain in the neck with radiation into the shoulder and arm with certain movements. When the pain is severe, every position hurts. Even getting in bed at night is a difficult exercise.
So, what are the medical options that are available to successfully treat this condition? The following clinical interventions listed below are important considerations that are conservative and effective when used correctly.
chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation
cold laser therapy
Many patients initially seek out their medical physicians for pain-relief medication. Typical medication consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAiDS), acetaminophen; in conjunction with different types of muscle relaxers and/or non-narcotic pain medication. Clinical studies show that cervical disc mediated neck pain does very well with the use of steroids when contraindications are not a problem. They are more widely used by spine specialists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, and physical medicine physicians.
Physical therapy (PT) is effective with the right protocol. Soft tissue mobilization of the joints, ligaments and muscles is common. PT modalities, with stretching and functional exercises, successfully facilitate pain reduction.
Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation is very effective for acute neck pain when used with functional and rehabilitation soft tissue therapy and exercises.
One important study conducted in April 2005 and published in the British Medical Journal demonstrated that spinal manual therapy was the most effective and cost-effective treatment for acute neck pain. After seven weeks of therapy recovery rates were 51% for spinal manipulation, as compared with 36% for PT and/or general physician treatment.
Cold laser therapy over the last three years has demonstrated to be the most effective modality for serious neck and arm pain, with or without a cervical disc problem. Clinical studies indicate that using cold laser immediately after a soft tissue injury or non-traumatic inflammatory joint problem can significantly reduce the effective treatment schedule up to 1/2 of the time for a serious neck and back problem.
The clinical use of low power cold laser technology has a profound and permanent effect to reduce inflammation, improve range of motion, and motor strength to weak muscles. Cold laser should be the first line of therapy when indicated by the attending clinician. When the cold laser is used with the right combination and sequence of chiropractic, physical therapy and family physician intervention, a successful outcome in neck and back pain treatment almost always results.